Accused criminal identified by victim

IN THE early hours of a winter morning, a masked bandit stands with a knife pointed at Griffith woman Tara Baker while another, taller, disguised man also armed with a knife leans threateningly over her brother in his bed demanding money.

Suddenly, a blue tea towel covering the bottom half of the taller man’s face drops and for what Ms Baker agrees is a split-second she sees all of his face before he “buries” his face and runs out of her Illiliwa Street flat.

Later, she would tell the police the man she saw was Zach Kenneth Corkery, who she had known of for about 10 years, although they were not friends.

Corkery is on trial in Wagga District Court having pleaded not guilty yesterday to aggravated break and enter and commit a serious indictable offence (robbery).

He has also pleaded not guilty to the alternative charge of robbery while armed with an offensive weapon.

It is alleged that Corkery and another male forced their way into Ms Baker’s flat just after midnight on August 4, 2011, and that she was robbed of $250, which the smaller of the two bandits put down his pants.

In his opening address, trial advocate for Corkery, Mark Davies, told the jury there was no doubt an armed robbery had taken place.

“This happened, but it was not Mr Corkery,” Mr Davies said.

“It was a terrible crime, but it was not Mr Corkery.”

Questioned by Crown trial advocate, Brendan Queenan, Ms Baker said she gave the smaller man her rent money in an envelope after the bandits burst into the flat and demanded “money and stuff”.

He then pushed her from behind and she went into a hall and then the bedroom of her brother, Jake, when she saw his light was on.

She said the taller man was in the room with her friend Troy Gordon, also called Fred, who had been visiting the flat and had been forced at knifepoint into the bedroom.

Ms Baker said that after she demanded to know what was going on, the tea towel covering the face of the taller man from the nose down slipped.

“What did you say?” Mr Queenan asked.

“I said: ‘Zach, what are you doing?’” Ms Baker replied. “What happened next?” Mr Queenan asked.

“He put his head down and pushed past me and left the house,” Ms Baker replied.

“Do you tell the court you got a good look at his face?” Mr Queenan asked. “Yes,” Ms Baker said.

In cross-examination, Ms Baker agreed she had not been in Griffith for five of the 10 or so years she knew Corkery, that the last time she had seen him before the robbery was 12 months before, and before then it was a couple of times a week for a few weeks.

She said she had a mistrust of Corkery, admitted she smoked a joint of marijuana some hours before the robbery and took a week to report the crime to police.

She also agreed she was not happy about being in court for the trial.

“You only saw him (the face of the taller man) for a split second, you were terrified, is it possible you were mistaken?” Mr Davies asked Ms Baker. “No,” Ms Baker replied.

Later, Mr Davies put to Ms Baker: “So, you were mistaken when you identified the person you say is Zach, that is right, isn’t it?

“No,” she replied.

“And now you are just going along with the process,” Mr Davies said.

“I am just saying what is true,” Ms Baker said.

The trial continues today.

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